CHICAGO (CBS) — A St. Louis area man is in a fight to clear not his name, but his license plate.
East Alton resident Doyle Hornbeck got a City of Chicago parking ticket notice in the mail, but said he has never even been to the Windy City.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov found he is not the only one to whom this has happened.
Hornbeck did not quite know what to think when he got the $100 parking ticket notice in the mail in October.
“Originally, I just figured that there was an honest mistake made,” he said.
That is because on the date that the original ticket was issued, July 26, Hornbeck said he and his wife were not at 180 N. Columbus Dr. near the Fairmont Hotel downtown as the ticket claims. He said they had traveled from a Missouri resort to Six Flags St. Louis in Eureka, Missouri, not far from where the couple lives.
Hornbeck has the receipts to prove that was where he was at the time, and he submitted one to the Chicago Finance Department – thinking that would take care of it. But an administrative law judge didn’t budge.
“I don’t understand how my proof isn’t enough to prove that I was never in Chicago that weekend,” Hornbeck said. “As a matter of fact – I mean, I can’t prove it – I’ve never been in Chicago in my entire life.”
Neither, he said, has his car.
“For the whole weekend, we were nowhere near Illinois,” Hornbeck said.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: 1,182 New Coronavirus Cases, 5 More Deaths; Lowest One-Day Death Toll Since September
Amy Jo Mueller of Belleville, Illinois – also near St. Louis, has battled the same issue.
“I feel so sorry for that man, because I know the stress,” she said.
Last year, Mueller got a traffic ticket for a violation near 62nd and Rockwell streets in Chicago. But neither she, nor her husband or their car, had even been to Chicago since 2009.
“I had also sent in letters from our employers – my husband’s and myself – that we were actually at work during the time of the violation,” Mueller said, “and that did not seem to matter.”
An administrative law judge ruled them responsible too, until their state representative got involved. Hornbeck is still fighting it – even willing to drive five hours to Chicago to go to court if necessary.
“It’s very stressful. I mean, I don’t know how to put it besides I’m so aggravated,” Hornbeck said. “I’m even dreaming about it at night.”
Kozlov also talked to a third woman – also, as it happens, from the St. Louis area – who said the same thing happened to her. But she said she gave up fighting the ticket after the State of Illinois garnished her tax returns.
Kozlov asked a Department of Finance spokesperson if it is possible that Hornbeck’s ticket was written originally with one number off or something like that. But the spokesperson said based what the department knows right now, all evidence says Hornbeck is liable.MORE NEWS: Park District Spring Program Sign Up Starts Monday
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